As CMOs are under pressure to drive a significant return on marketing spend that impacts their organization’s bottom line, the right strategies will be crucial to their success. National Instruments discusses why digitizing marketing events will help CMOs surmount this challenge
Events season is upon us and if you’re anything like us you have a series of large, intricate, time-intensive and costly events planned. As we all know, a full calendar of events can often bring on a nightly feeling of panic that will jolt many CMOs out of a peaceful slumber. Be honest, you’ve had that nightmare at least once where you’re faced with having to explain to your CEO why you failed to collect data or draw insights and revenue from the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of attendees at your event.
Perhaps this scenario seems a little far-fetched to you. Instead, let’s lay out the reality of the pressure on today’s CMO. Beyond being brand stewards, marketers are increasingly expected to be the primary drivers of growth strategies, revenue generation and customer experience in their organizations.
While close to 70% of CMOs now have this responsibility, many struggle to show how they are impacting business growth, according to a recent global study of CMOs by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Deloitte. Many CMOs are unclear as to how they can embrace integrated data-driven analytics that is critical to not only support their vigorous hunt for revenue and lasting, profitable customer relationships but also to demonstrate ROI from campaigns to key business stakeholders. So, inevitably there’s a lot of pressure on the average CMO’s shoulders.
Now, add the pressures of planning and executing a successful events season on top. Nowhere is the modern CMO’s struggle more evident within the marketing function than with events. Other areas of marketing have undergone digitization, such as websites being optimized for mobile users and marketing automation for email marketing campaigns.In comparison, most marketing teams have not yet digitized the events management processes or worked out how to integrate data captured at events in real-time within their marketing automation system. This means they fail to gain optimum value from in-person interactions with customers and prospects and lack ROI from their spend—which is generally around a third of the marketing budget by the way. No wonder many CMOs suffer sleepless nights at this time of year.
At National Instruments (NI), we have always recognized the importance of events to driving revenue, but we’ve also realized that we wouldn’t accomplish the best results through traditional event management. Therefore, we launched an initiative to optimize the entire marketing events process through automation, using Certain Oracle Eloqua Edition with EventStream.
Here are the top five reasons why automating marketing events can empower other marketing teams to drive greater business value (and get a good night’s sleep):
Achieve higher sales conversion
Automation technology enables marketers to capture signals from event attendees in real-time that demonstrate purchase intent—such as multiple booth visits or going to more than one session around a specific service area. This insight makes it possible to take action and follow up with customers and prospects while an event is still in progress. The end result: sales teams can engage opportunities faster, which dramatically improves conversion rates.
Increase the value of event-based insights
Event data gives you one part of the buyer journey picture, but when that data is pushed live in marketing automation or CRM software (in our case Oracle Eloqua), you can get a holistic view of a customer or prospect from across all their interactions with your brand. Therefore, not only can event-based data be used for identifying attendees that are engaged in your brand, prioritizing leads and increasing sales at events, but when that data forms part of a 360-degree customer view, it can help marketers to create tailored campaigns across the entire marketing mix.
Another key benefit of event automation and its integration with marketing automation is the ability to prove ROI on events. Event budgets are large with many line items, so to ensure efficiency and accuracy of budget data, we connected Certain (where we manage events) to Allocadia (where we manage our marketing budget). This provides an accurate look at not only the event budget but how we are meeting our ROI.
Deepen relationships to build brand awareness and loyalty
Many customers are disengaged from brands due to lack of a personal, meaningful experience. Events provide the perfect forum for customers to have important 1:1 interactions with brands, but the challenge comes in humanizing those exchanges with attendees. Automation technology can play an important role in helping marketers overcome the challenge of personalization on a mass scale.
For example, marketers can use event-based insights to personalize attendee communications in real-time based on specific trigger points, such as the event sessions a prospect is confirmed to attend. The magic moment of witnessing that “this company knows me and my preferences,” rather than being thrown into a generic drip campaign, will strengthen customer relationships.
Free up marketing time for higher value tasks
Large, global events programs often involve dozens of employees working thousands of hours managing logistics and sending communications. An event automation platform designed for scale will transform a traditionally manual, resource-heavy process. Functions like event campaign templates, cloning, and single sign-on easily allow us to manage many events each year, freeing up time for value-add tasks allowing a focus on optimization and results.
Achieve brand consistency globally
When carrying out hundreds of events globally, marketers face a challenge to ensure all events are consistently branded in disparate geographical regions. Removing point solutions in every market ensures that while local events have local people executing, people and technology come together in alignment for one consistent brand look and feel that is replicated across every event.
Marketers should not be losing sleep over their events marketing strategy. If they implement the right steps and automation strategies, they’ll be able to execute their “dream” marketing events and feel empowered to prove quality results to the C-suite.